Plant-based eating and an increasing focus on sustainability are trends that are here to stay. While people seek healthier choices, they are also more and more interested in the origin of food and the impact it has on the environment. Our ambition is to make healthy, sustainable choices which are easy and accessible to everyone.
Performance in 2020
In 2020, Fazer Lifestyle Foods’ net sales grew, with the growth mainly attributable to non-dairy and dairy sales from Kaslink, which was acquired in August 2019.
Breakfast products and the industrial milling products did well despite the exceptional operating environment caused by COVID-19, whereas emerging categories such as smoothies and juices faced challenges. Sales were negatively impacted mainly due to the decline in on-the-go snacking and the standstill in the hotel and restaurant sector as well as in the travel retail channels.
During the year, Fazer Lifestyle Foods continued to implement its plant-based strategy with its core focus on oat, responding to consumers´ call for a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, introducing a variety of new products. Oats, the supergrain of the north, continued to increase in popularity, and both the Swedish and Finnish mills were running at full capacity during most of the year. To meet growing consumer demand, we started the expansion of the oat mills in Lahti, Finland and Lidköping, Sweden. The ongoing investment of 30 million euros in total will double our current oat milling capacity. Once the expansions have been finalised, Fazer will be the number one miller in oats in the Nordic countries and one of the leading players in Europe.
One of the highlights of the year was the launch of Fazer Oat Rice – a locally sourced, highly nutritious and versatile product. As a tasty and easy-to-use product with a low carbon footprint, Fazer Oat Rice is a great example of a true innovation that responds to the needs of the consumers. During the year, Fazer Oat Rice was launched in all Nordic countries. This novelty was awarded the Swedish Food Award Livsmedelspriset 2020 by the Livsmedeli fokus network.
Innovations supporting the circular economy, such as the production of xylitol from oat hulls derived as a side stream from the oat milling process, represent a future direction for the food industry. The construction of Fazer’s new xylitol factory proceeded, and xylitol production is estimated to start in 2021. The factory will further strengthen Fazer’s position as a forerunner in innovative plant-based products and as an expert in foodtech, which is a key focus area for us. The oat xylitol factory was awarded the Finnish Star Act 2020 – Tähtiteko 2020 by the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation.
After evaluating the alternatives for producing Fazer Yosa oat products, we decided to close the production facility in Kaarina and move operations to the factory in Koria during the autumn. As non-dairy oat-based products play a key role in our growth plans both domestically and internationally, the modern factory in Koria meets the large-scale food production needs.
In spring 2020, the oat brand Kaslink Aito was renamed Fazer Aito. Along with the new name, the products saw some changes that made them even more consumer friendly. Most of Fazer Aito oat snacks are now dairy and gluten-free.
Fazer Lifestyle Foods’ ambition is to become one of the leading plant-based players in Northern Europe. We are well positioned for future growth and have a strong base of unique oat expertise on which we build our plant-based offering. We have a variety of products already present in the markets, and even more in the pipeline for future introductions. This is a market driven by longterm environmental requirements and the consumer trends of health, nutrition and good taste.
Through consumer insight and by deeply understanding consumer trends, we can find new opportunities to strengthen our business performance. By strategically investing in driving, understanding and supporting new consumption behaviours, we can better serve people who prioritise well-being and sustainability.
Interest in plant-based categories will continue to grow, as consumers seek healthy, more sustainable solutions. The pace of this transformation will be determined by the quality and convenience of our offering. We will answer consumer needs by developing products, creating new innovations, and expanding our selection of plant-based options that are both nutritious and delicious.